Blondies, again: new and improved (i.e., simplified)

Blondies, FTW.

My holiday baking this year consisted of gingersnaps (my first time!) and blondies.

I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe from my first post on this very blog and due to time and ingredient constraints, I cut some corners.

Turns out cutting corners paid off, big time! The simplified version of this recipe made for a focused baked treat… you’re really able to taste the caramel-y flavor and enjoy the buttery texture without the add-ins.

Simple, No-Fail Blondies (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional: 1 teaspoon of molasses

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium to large bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix.
  5. Pour batter into greased 8×8 or 9×9 pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.
  6. Bake until top is a light golden brown and edges start to brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake.
  7. Cool on wire rack to room temperature.

This is a very forgiving recipe: You can cut the sugar, include a little more or less of the butter and vanilla, and it should still turn out. I dare you not to love the results.

If you’ve tried this recipe or another blondie recipe, let me know in the comments!



5 Things… Monday edition!

I’m loving right now.

Love this!

The Body Shop Tea Tree Cool and Creamy Face Wash. Really love The Body Shop’s tea tree line and this is one of their new additions. Because it’s a creamy wash, it’s totally fine to use morning and night – not drying. And I love the cooling feeling from using this. Continue reading

Top 10 Spinning Songs of 2013

To celebrate getting my new kicks, I thought it’d be fun to compile a list of my favorite spinning songs from this year.

Spinning instructors out there, please weigh in on the type of drills these songs would be suited for. I could definitely be wrong!

[REVISED 12/31] And I just realized I was short one song for the 10. Oops! See that missing 10th song at the end of the list.

Avicii. Does this put you in the NYE spirit?

2 months and 1 day later…

What do you get when you combine a beautiful venue and an amazing photographer?

christine & steve wedding-9363

At the Santa Barbara Courthouse

Needless to say, we loved seeing all our photos when we got the full set. And even though it’s been just 2 months, I’m already nostalgic. I might do a wedding day post a little later, and maybe put up a couple more photos, too.

Plus, Emily just blogged Part 2 of our (epic) engagement shoot. That was so fun!

5 Things…

I’m loving right now.

my favorite!

J Crew Matchstick jeans, especially in the “Classic Rinse” wash

Sharon Segal tees – My favorite t-shirt brand. Quite possibly the perfect v-neck. Everything about this shirt is perfect: Fit, length, fabric, the shape of the V. I like the crew neck, too, but the v-neck is perfection.

Tegan & Sara’s new album (“Closer” is a great spin song)

Buffalo Gal Organics lip balm

Flywheel  – More like a year-long addiction. Review coming soon!

If only I’d heard about this a day earlier…

Well, yesterday was an eventful day. I got up early, but still managed to be behind schedule, for the So Cal UX Camp. On the way, I hit a speed trap on the 60E. The kicker about the whole thing is that I shouldn’t even have been on the 60E in the first place, but stayed on the 5S. Google Maps confounded me again with their overly detailed directions. Let’s take a closer look at that fateful step:

From Google Maps: “Keep left to continue on I-5 S, follow signs for Soto St/Santa Ana/State Hwy 60 E/Pomona

What does this mean? Well, in true Google Maps fashion (convoluted), it means stay on the 5. But in my hurry (and poorly-made decision to not carefully study the map), I read it as “Get on the 60E.” As a result, I got seriously waylaid and on top of getting that speeding ticket I was about an hour and a half late.

Anyway, So Cal UX Camp was another good event. I met a designer who told me about a crowd-sourced mapping and traffic app that she swears by. I checked it out this morning and boy, am I sold. I almost want a smartphone right now so I can start using it right away. Yes, I’m one of the few people left who does not yet own a smartphone (!)

The day gradually picked up after that stressful morning. After the event, I headed to Newport Beach to meet with a flower wholesaler and ended up booking my wedding flowers. And on the way home, I stopped by here at the Outlets in Orange for some retail therapy. I think that might be the only store where shoe shopping is not chaotic, pointless, or all-around dreadful.

Well, at least I have a pretty tuberose bouquet here on the dining table that the florist made for me to take home yesterday.


Happy Mother’s Day!

roses and mini calla lilies

For my mom, along with a 10″ tres leches cake and over a dozen other pastries from Portos (I should have taken a picture of those, huh?)

another view

Like my arrangement?

Trader Joe’s has a great flower selection. I like to buy 2 or 3 flower types and arrange myself, though some of their own arrangements aren’t bad either.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! This blog has been plaguing me with guilt due to my lack of updates.